Every year, older Americans experience almost 30 million falls, making them one of the leading causes of injury, disability and death.
Every senior should create a safe home environment that can help them avoid falls and maintain their independence.
This is why we are covering fall prevention in this article.
Fall Prevention Checklist
Each item on the checklist below is important for preventing falls.
Go through your house or apartment with this checklist to improve your safety.
Clear all items from stairways and never place items on stairs.
Fix any loose steps, tiles or floorboards.
Remove any furniture that makes walkways narrow or hard to navigate.
Add overhead lighting to stairways and hallways to ensure it is easy to see.
Add nightlights in hallways, bathrooms and other rooms you may need to use in the middle of the night.
Remove any rugs or use non-slip backing, so rugs don’t slip.
Place firm, safe handrails on each side of all stairways.
Have grab bars installed around toilets and in showers or tubs?
Ensure no electrical cords run across walkways, keep cords coiled up.
Place non-slip mats on the floor of the shower or tub.
Add a ramp to outdoor entries that are difficult to navigate.
If you have difficulty with stairs, have a stairlift installed inside or out.
Ensure to store all items on shelves that are easy to reach, not too high or too low.
Always clear—or have someone else clear-sidewalks of snow. Add salt to sidewalks to help prevent ice.
Check for Other Risk Factors
It’s not just your home environment that affects your risk for falls; your health and habits could put you at risk, too.
For comprehensive falls prevention, you should also take these actions:
Review your medications with your doctor.
Some medicines or medicine interactions can cause problems with balance and increase your risk for falls.
Get regular, gentle exercise, including strength training, to help improve your balance. Walking, tai chi and water aerobics are typically safe exercises for older adults.
Ensure your shoes fit correctly and provide support.
Talk to your doctor about any dizziness, previous falls, vertigo or other issues that may indicate you are at risk for a bad fall.
You can find help preventing falls from physicians, physical therapists and even your family members.